Friday, June 13

Welcome to the world, Elle

I want to take advantage of the extra down-time after having a baby and record her birth story! As some of you may know, this sweet little baby was a surprise. Because of my very difficult pregnancies, we had decided to wait a couple years before getting pregnant again. But the Lord had other things in store for us!

We were right in the middle of building our home, Lance was anticipating a possible career change, and Cambridge, our youngest, was still just a baby when we found out I was pregnant. The timing seemed impossible and I couldn't imagine how in the world we would be able to make it all work. But as do most things that seem too difficult to handle, everything worked itself out. Our incredible friends and family stepped in to help watch our children for the few months I was in bed, help abounded to finish work on the house and Lance, after leaving the company he'd been with for 4 1/2 years and that we had purchased equity in, found that he was happier and more fulfilled working for himself.

Now, in retrospect, Lance and I are both in complete awe that the timing for having our sweet Eleanor Elizabeth could not have been any more perfect!! The Lord truly does have a hand in our lives and He knows better than we ever could how to help us be the kind of people he needs us to be!

Anyways, I digress.... on to the birth story! I had been having contractions and braxton hicks for months before Elle arrived. 3 weeks before she was born I was already dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced. My midwife said she would be surprised if I made it to my due date. But then we kept waiting and waiting. Finally I just decided to quit being antsy and just relax a little!

Then came her due date... everything seemed just the same as before. I finished up almost all the laundry in the house, cleaned, went grocery shopping and to the bank. I was in the middle of making dinner when I felt my first strong contraction of the day. Then a few minutes later, another one. I had had so many false starts to labor that I really didn't think anything of it. We all sat down for dinner and by that time I had had another strong contraction. I told Lance and I thought this might be it, but then went another 30 minutes without another contraction. By 7:00 we headed outside as a family to let the kids ride their bikes and work on the sprinklers. That is when the contractions started coming more regularly. We called and text family to let them know I may be going into labor, then continued working in the yard. I would have to wait between contractions to lean down and turn sprinkler valves on for Lance.

With Cambridge, I had gone from a 3 to delivered in an hour, so my midwife said to come straight in if I thought I was in labor. She didn't want that baby delivered on the way to the hospital! So I figured we better go in just in case. My dad came over to put the kids down and by this time, the contractions were regular and strong enough I knew it was the real thing. We got to the hospital at 8:00 and both of our moms arrived shortly after. I was at a 4 and 85% effaced. 30 minutes later, a 6. At this point I got into the jacuzzi tub to help with the contractions. My experience with Cambridge's birth had been so incredible, I had decided right after having her that my next birth would be natural, so getting the epidural wasn't even an option in my mind. I had done a lot of research and studying to prepare myself for it.

The jacuzzi was amazing! It eased the contractions so much and made them completely doable! Lance was also an incredible support through all of this. He was perfect at reminding me to breath deeper and stay calm. His calming energy is a huge part of the reason I was able to get through the contractions. It felt like I was sharing all of it with him and he believed in me so perfectly that I also believed in myself 100%.

In no time I was feeling pressure and could tell it was time to deliver! I got out of the tub, and sure enough I was complete. It seemed like a dream! I couldn't believe how easy it was to get there and it didn't seem real that our baby was about to be born. "Two pushes and your baby will be here!" My midwife said and Lance and I just locked eyes and became so emotional. When I first started pushing I just could not believe it- I was feeling zero pain. Zero. It seemed too good to be true and little did I know the hardest part was about to come!

After about 10 minutes of no pain whatsoever, but also no progress, the midwife realized that our little baby was posterior, meaning instead of presenting with the top of her head, it was her face presenting. This makes it much, much harder for baby to get under the pelvic bone and out. At this point, the pain, pressure and back labor came so strong, I didn't know what to do with myself. I would push as hard as I possibly could, with every once of strength I had but we could not get that baby to turn. Finally, after 30 minutes of pushing and trying to turn her, she flipped all at once and was out 2 pushes later!

Everyone talks about the "ring of fire" when you deliver naturally. I honestly didn't feel that a single bit because the pressure on my back was so strong.

If you were a fly on the wall during my labor and delivery, you wouldn't even believe it was the same one. The first 3 hours were so incredibly calm and peaceful, with my birth team and I just chatting and laughing between contractions and the last 20 minutes were just like in the movies... screaming, heavy breathing, lots of pain. If she hadn't been posterior, it honestly would have been the easiest labor and delivery you could imagine!

But she was here! They pulled her up onto my belly and she was so calm and peaceful. She just lay there looking all around. At this point I was shaking uncontrollably all over from the immense pain and everything was a little blurry. I couldn't believe she was here and that I had gotten the natural birth I had wanted so badly. I had done it! It was so empowering and exhilerating to experience it all, as raw and real as it was!

Truly the best feeling in the world to snuggle that sweet babe and to have her here safe and sound.

I am in awe at the miracle of life. It's the 3rd time we've done this and it is just as humbling and incredible as it was the first time! I feel so lucky to be a small part of creating life and bringing another child into this world. Elle is truly the best surprise we could have ever imagined.

This picture absolutely melts me. I love this incredible man of mine. 

We are so thrilled to have our little Eleanor Elizabeth here! She is named after two incredible ladies. Eleanor is Lance's grandma Pat's middle name and Elizabeth is his mom. At 6 lbs, 9 oz she is my smallest baby.

The next morning my parents brought Crew and Cambridge to meet their new little sister. This picture about sums up their visit:

Cambridge looked at baby a couple of times, but was more interested in the candy and toys Grandma Mary brought. Crew was so excited to meet Elle and wanted to give her (smothering) kisses and hugs forever.

We had lots of visitors and are so thankful for the support and love from all our loved ones! Now we are home and just taking things easy. The kids have been with their Grandma Liz and will be home later today. I am excited/nervous for the days and weeks to follow. I know it won't be easy with three children but I can't wait to start life as a family of 5!

Thursday, December 19

I'm pregnant!

My mantra for the last few months :)

After we had Cambridge, Lance and I both decided we would wait a good few years before welcoming baby #3 into our family. With how incredibly sick I get, my pregnancies are a huge disruption to our lives and have taken a very serious toll on my health. So waiting seemed like a wise decision and felt right for the happiness (and sanity!) of our little family, and essential to my health. I was delighted for the break and excited to have my body be mine for a couple of years.

Little did we know!

I honestly didn't even suspect I was pregnant. It was Lance who first noticed something may be going on. But I quickly hushed his fears. My good friend, Jessica, was actively trying to get pregnant and after we went running together she insisted I go home and take a pregnancy test.


I have never been so shocked in my entire life. It's incredible how in control of your life you believe you are until something like this happens. We were smacked ab in the middle of building our new house, things have been absolutely crazy at work for Lance, not to mention I still hadn't figured out how to manage the two children we already have. This baby and Cambridge will be less than 2 years apart.

Remember my very last post about life's trials and how thankful I am for them because they make me a better person? Yeah. I wrote that before I knew I pregnant. If you really want a good laugh, go read it again :). But on a serious note, fear kind of overtook my life once I found out I was pregnant. The fear was almost as debilitating as the sickness (panic attacks, anyone?). Its the most insufficient I have ever felt compared to life's challenges. I also felt a lot of guilt for all the things I wouldn't be able to do, and the amount of help we would need from friends and family.

After 3 months of indescribable 24/7 nausea, losing 10 pounds, body aches, crazy amounts of throw-ups, lots and lots of meds, loads of tears, and incredible amounts of help from our amazing family, I am finally starting to pull out of the misery and I am so very thankful for this sweet little baby growing inside me. I really do know now, more than ever, that my Heavenly Father knows me personally and has a master plan for my life that my finite mind cannot comprehend.

Coming out of the sickness is like coming out of a dark cave and getting a second lease on life- I have never been so sure of my mission, my ability to affect change and have a positive impact in the world, and the importance of staying close to the Spirit and serving others. I feel immeasurable gratitude for my incredible husband, who has been my absolute rock through it all, and for our wonderful family and friends who rushed to our aid and gave without question and without end, expecting nothing in return.

Seriously folks, I am a very lucky gal- and I surely don't deserve it.

13 weeks
This has been my look for a few months: no makeup, spandex, bun.

These two have been incredibly resilient through mommy being sick! 
My heart already feels like it will simply burst with love for them! I cannot
wait for another little bundle.

As way of an update, the house is so SO close to being done! It's been a long 8 months of construction,
and we definitely didn't do it the easy route, but it's coming together beautifully. We were hoping to be
 in by Christmas, but we will just miss it and will be in before the New Year. Here are a few progress photos.

 The outside is all finished now, we really just need to finish painting, get carpet installed, countertops
and hardware/plumbing fixtures installed.

The wood floors that were cut and milled from a 150 year old tree on my grandpa's farm.

Laundry room tile.

Master bathroom cabinets being installed.

Faux brick chimney. My dad and brother Austin 
made the stucco look like brick.
Can you even believe how real it looks?
They are so incredibly talented at everything they do.

We finished the basement apartment a month or so ago and our good friends Josh and Jessica Halls moved in! It's the same Jessica that told me to take a pregnancy test and now we are due within a week of each other! We feel really blessed to have such great friends and renters living downstairs.

Well, I think that about covers it!

I'm hoping I just get feeling better and better over the next few weeks. What I have now is what (I think) is normal morning sickness- I throw up first thing every single morning, but feel better after I eat and take my meds. I still feel really nauseous every evening for a few hours, but this is totally doable compared to 24/7 nausea. Thank goodness for Zofran and Unisom because I would still be a puking machine without them!  

Merry Christmas! I'll update again in a few weeks after we've settled into the new house :)

Saturday, September 21

On Life

I'm not really sure how many of you are still reading my little blog, but if you're here I'm sure happy you are! :) I have a million things I could blog about, but would like to take a moment and share some of my thoughts as of late.

I don't think Lance and I could have timed things any better with starting our little family. We both graduated from college in 2010, and me with an 8 1/2-month-prego belly. I would be remiss to leave out that I had just gone through the darkest, most discouraging and painful 5 months of my entire life, but, that aside, the timing was great! :)

I had roughly a month after we graduated to sleep in, move us fully into our new apartment, and nest to my heart's content. After Crew arrived we transitioned straight into Lance working full-time and me being a full-time stay-at-home mommy. I delved right into taking care of my new babe, doing the laundry, ironing, making dinner every day, and everything else entailed in running a home. 

(On a side note, this is the only photo from the hospital where I look even half-decent. 
My 6-month-pregnant-looking belly is still there, promise, it's just hidden by all that black.)

What I think when I look at these pictures (after admiring how young and fit we are, and thinking of how much I love my little family) is, "How naive you are, you two! You think parenthood and adulthood are going to be all roses and kittens." Oh sure, if you would have asked me then I could regurgitate that things would be hard, but I really didn't understand how difficult being a parent/adult would be. I didn't understand that having a child meant the end to being care-free and only worrying about yourself and what fun adventure you'd have next. That growing up meant taking care of everyone else's needs before your own every single day.

I vividly remember a conversation I had with my dad after I had just started college. I was complaining about something or another and he said, "Don't worry, it only gets worse." With a big grin on his face. After a worried, "Really?" from me we both had a good chuckle and moved on. I have returned to that conversation countless times in my mind. While I realize he was half-teasing, I've also come to understand how much truth there is to that statement. Every time I start to feel comfortable, like I've really got this "life" thing down pat, something else is added to the mix and I'm thrown all out of whack again. Isn't that true for all of us? I sure hope so.

The bottom line for me, and what I've come to understand in a new way this last year, is this: It is by divine design that life is so difficult, that every time we feel we're enough, we suddenly aren't enough again. And I'll tell you what folks! How grateful I am that a loving Heavenly Father sees fit to send more responsibility and trials my way just when I start to get comfortable. Because it's in those uncomfortable times, the squirmy "I have no idea what I'm doing" times or the "I cannot see past the pain and discouragement I'm feeling every moment of every day" times that we learn and grow the very most. 

It's in those most difficult times in my life that I've gained hope, or humility, or patience, or perspective. And it's in the day-to-day repetition of things that I've learned how to work hard, be content with here and now, and look outside myself to serve others. Heaven knows I need way more of all of those qualities, along with innumerable others that I couldn't even begin to name. 

I know this topic might seem a bit odd. I've had more people than I can count say things like, "You live a charmed life" or "You have so much help!" and it's true; I have an incredible support system in my life. I have an extraordinary, supportive family, I've never really had to worry about money, I have been blessed with amazing friends who are the embodiment of selflessness and love, I have a college education, I have two beautiful children and an insanely supportive husband who are my everything! 

But that's not the point.

The point is not what we have or don't have, because our lives are so different from one another that it's just not even worth comparing. The point is that we each face hardships that are new and difficult to us. Not compared to Sally who just lost her son, or compared to Ashley who has an incurable disease. The beauty of this thing called life is that our trials and hardships are totally and completely catered to us, to help us become the kind of people we need to be. 

And you want to know what? Since I've started looking at things this way a beautiful thing has happened. At a time when I would have thought, "I can't do this." or "When will this be over?", instead I'm able to think, "This is teaching me patience." or "I will be a better woman because of this." And while I still have my fair share of grumbling and complaining, this small shift in my thinking has made all the difference. 

Wednesday, September 18

All about Tile

Choosing tile has been the single most difficult decision for me in the entire house-building process! I have known for a long time I've wanted a white kitchen with marble countertops, brown wood floors throughout the main and light gray walls. I knew I wanted a fireplace in our living room with built in bookshelves flanking each side. There are so many details I've had figured out from the very beginning but when it comes to tile, I have flip flopped too many times to count!

When it really came down to it the pictures I was constantly drawn to were white marble tile, but marble is a hard choice for a few reasons. One, it can be a lot of upkeep, two, it costs a lot of money, especially once you start getting into Calcutta gold (my favorite!) and the fun different patterns, and three, I worried that white throughout the entire house would be too boring.

Well, I'm happy to say I've finally committed to tile for the entire house and I couldn't be happier with my decisions! I worked hard to source the marble I bought and found it for an incredible deal on ebay, so I was able to stay mostly in budget while still getting what I want. And I am really excited to add punches of color to each bathroom through painting the vanities different colors and with textiles.

White ceramic hexagon tile
$4.95 per sq ft.
This will go in the kid's bathroom, 
the apartment bathroom & 
the apartment laundry room

White Carrera marble basketweave
with Gray accent
$9.99 per sq ft
Main floor laundry room 

1" White Carrera marble hexagon
$8.59 per sq ft
Main floor 1/2 bath

These last two marble tiles can easily run $16.99 a square foot, 
so these are incredible prices!

I realized with tile, just like I did with the exterior of our home, that going with what I really want is a gutsy move but I would regret it if I did anything else. I also try to err on the side of classic and simple and I don't think you can get any more classic than subway, penny tile and marble.

And for an update, we are almost finished with exterior siding and tile has already begun. Next will be wood floors, finish work, cabinets and painting! We are about 6 weeks from completion.

**Let me also just say that I feel a little silly having an entire post about tile for our new house. I know there are so many other, more important issues going on in our country which is why it's so nice to just think about something that doesn't really matter. Thanks for indulging me for a bit while I plan our future home!

Wednesday, August 28


Life has been insane these last few months, to say the least. We knew it was going to be crazy building a house (as if summers aren't already crazy) but it is so much busier than we even anticipated. We have still managed to have fun, though! We went to Yellowstone and Bear Lake with Lance's family which were two separate trips and we also celebrated both kid's birthdays! This post is a little random, but still an update on our lives :)

Crew turned 3 on the summer solstice. We had a little treasure party with a few of his friends in our neighborhood and he was in heaven.

The cupcakes were his favorite :)

Quick update on Crew: he is as big and independent as ever. He is 76th percentile in height and 30th percentile in weight- starting to get tall and skinny like his daddy. He is starting to ask "why" about everything and is very headstrong and energetic. Sometimes it's exhausting. On the flip side, though, he is so sweet and loving. He will regularly tell me I'm beautiful or just give me a big hug and kiss and tell me he loves me. He is starting to be really great with entertaining Cambridge which is so helpful! He has an incredible thirst for knowledge and does extremely well when we are doing activities one-on-one. He starts preschool this coming Tuesday and I just know he will do so well!

We also celebrated Cambridge's 1st birthday!
I'm all about sweet and simple- we celebrated with our families on the patio, ate dinner and had dessert.

"Where's my baby?" I said to try and get her to look and instead she decided to hide.

It was fun to see how different Cambridge was with her cake than Crew. Crew was a complete ham and went after his cake full force. He would shove a huge fistful in his mouth, then smile a huge toothy grin. He had cake spread from his head to his toes when he was done. Cambridge was much more shy about it. She loved the cake, but was much more tentative and kept trying to share with everyone. She loved the attention too, but couldn't figure out why she was the only one with cake. It was really cute.

An update on Cambridge: she took her first steps this week but is still determined not to walk. She gets pretty upset when we try and get her to. All in good time! She isn't quite as advanced as Crew was in her language but still communicates pretty well. She can sign "more", "all done" and "milk" which is so helpful. She just started saying Mama and she jabbers a lot. 

I noticed a few weeks ago that she was not responding to my voice the way she normally did so I took her in for a hearing screening which she failed in both ears. Doc found out she had double ear infections! I felt horrible and think she's had them for awhile- maybe even a couple months. She is just such a happy and easy going baby in general that when she was slightly fussy, I chalked it up to teething. Now that she's on antibiotics she is a complete angel! We lucked out with her for sure.

Cambridge is an incredible eater and sleeper. I have yet to find a single thing she won't eat! She has been regularly sleeping through the night and taking two naps during the day since she was 6 months old. She is a little thing, 33rd percentile for both height and weight. She is just the sweetest little thing ever!

I sure love my bugs! 

Mother's Day photos.

The house is coming along very well! We are still ahead of schedule and will be finished in November sometime. Right now they are insulating, then tomorrow the drywallers are coming. After that my Dad and Austin will be working on hardiboard siding, outside concrete, then inside finish work! Lance and I are going to attempt to do all the tile work ourselves which should be interesting :) 

We have been spending a ton of time over at the house working. Lance ran all of our low-voltage wires- speakers, internet, TV's, etc. It's definitely been a learning experience for us both! I have learned so much about our home, the different choices along the way, etc. Really, if you ever have questions about home improvement (insulation, electrical, framing, roofing, etc) feel free to ask me! I LOVE the process and would do it again in a heartbeat. I especially love working alongside Lance on our future home.

Well, that's all for now folks. I know I skipped over months with just one post but it's about all I can manage at the moment. I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging after we are all moved in!